Colleges: Tattershall

Page 237

A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

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The college of the Holy Trinity, Tattershall, was founded in 1439 by Ralf, Lord Cromwell, then treasurer of the realm. The parish church of Tattershall which was to be rebuilt, was, with the king's permission, at that time transformed into a college for seven priests, six laymen, and six choristers; and an almshouse for thirteen poor people of either sex was attached to it, and placed under the charge of the same warden. The chaplains were to maintain divine service continually, and to pray for the king alive or dead, and for the souls of the founder and his grandmother, Dame Matilda Cromwell. (fn. 1)

The manors of Washingborough, Leadenham, Fulbeck and Driby, with the advowsons of the churches of those manors, the manors of Brinkhill, Fulletby, Baston, Ashby Puerorum, Withcall Zouche, Withcall Skipwith, Binbrook called North hall, Wood Enderby, Moorby, Wilksby, Coningsby and Haltham, the moiety of the manors of Swinhope, Willoughton, Billinghay and Walcote, and the advowson of the church of Swinhope, and another moiety of the manor of Swinhope after the death of Matilda widow of John Keuermond, were assigned to the master and the chaplains of the college and almshouse. (fn. 2) The manors of Woodthorpe, Maltby by Louth and Cherry Willingham were also assigned to them. (fn. 3)

In 1478 the manors of Manton and Tixover, Rutland, once the property of the abbey of Cluny, were granted to the college of Tattershall, (fn. 4) and a part of the endowments of the alien priory of Burwell, Lincolnshire, was about the same time assigned to its maintenance. (fn. 5)

The college was subject to visitation by the bishops of Lincoln, and in 1501 Bishop Smith ordained new statutes for the master and fellows. (fn. 6) In 1519 Bishop Atwater Visited Tattershall, and required the chaplains to show their letters of orders. He remarked that the chorister boys were only taught to sing, whereas they ought also to be instructed in grammar. The chaplains also were in the habit of dressing like laymen; he ordered them in future to dress as priests, according to their statutes. In all other respects the college was in a good and prosperous condition, and there were no other reforms necessary. (fn. 7)

The last master, George Heneage, signed the Acknowledgement of Supremacy in 1534, with six other chaplains. (fn. 8) In 1536 he was accused of having sent victuals to the insurgents; and one of the examinates after the rebellion related how Sheriff Dymoke bade the warden to send his 'tall priests' to the host, all but one. It does not seem, however, that they were compelled to serve. (fn. 9)

The college was dissolved 4 February, 1545. (fn. 10)


John Gygor, (fn. 11) occurs 1471

John Constable, (fn. 12) occurs 1522

There is a fine seal of 1515 (fn. 13) representing the Trinity in a heavily canopied niche between two smaller niches with tabernacle work at the sides, each containing a saint with nimbus. In the base under a round-headed arch, with foliage in the spandrils, there is a shield of arms; quarterly 1, 4, a chief and baton, Sir Ralph Cromwell, founder; 2, 3, chequey a chief ermine, Tattershall. The style of work is of the fifteenth century.



  • 1. Pat. 17 Hen. VI, pt. ii, m. 19.
  • 2. Chan. Inq. p.m. 32 Hen. VI, No. 33.
  • 3. Inq. a.q.d. 33 Hen. VI, No. 9.
  • 4. Pat. 18 Edw. IV, pt. i, m. 13. These manors had been seized into the king's hands in 1416, and granted to William Porter, who passed them on to Bishop Alnwick; Lord Cromwell bought and presented them to Tattershall.
  • 5. Burwell manor and church were granted to Charles duke of Suffolk as part of the endowments of Tattershall in 1545. Pat. 36 Hen. VIII, pt. xi, m. 39.
  • 6. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Smith, 62 d.
  • 7. Visitations of Atwater (Alnwick Tower), fol. 49.
  • 8. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vii, 1121 (9).
  • 9. Ibid, xii (1), 70 (7 and 8).
  • 10. Rymer, Foedera, vi, 125.
  • 11. Hist. of Ormsby, 255.
  • 12. Linc. N. and Q. v, 37.
  • 13. Egert. Chart, 256.